Ride against abuse

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Bikers cross the Portage Lake Lift Bridge during Monday’s Ride Against Abuse, put on by the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter.

HOUGHTON — Dozens of motorcycles roared across the Keweenaw Monday night as part of an annual effort to raise awareness of domestic violence.

The Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter hosted its ninth annual Ride Against Abuse Monday, starting at the AmericInn in Calumet and ending at the Kestner Waterfront Park in Houghton.

Thirty-three bikes took part this year, some with multiple people on board, said Mary Niemela, the shelter’s executive director. The ride takes place each year on the first Monday of October, which is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

“This is our 42nd year of being a funded shelter,” she said. “And we’re very happy to be providing this service for people in the community and having so much support.”

There were 70,564 domestic violence incidents reported in Michigan last year, up 8.9% from 2020, according to the Michigan State Police Crime Incident Report. In almost 72% of the cases, the victims were women.

Eighty-three of those cases in 2021 were for murder on non-negligent manslaughter. But it comes in many forms of physical or mental abuse, including burglaries, hit-and-run accidents and identity theft.

Pete Lemoine and Doug Ploe are part of a group of riders who’ve taken part for several years

It’s “a good Christian thing to do,” Lemoine said.

“Just about everybody here knows somebody who’s been involved in domestic violence, and they know some of the problems that go with it,” he said. “We’d rather see it stop.”

Ploe said the ride helps draw attention to the cause.

“It shows support for all the things they do up there,” he said. “It’s a good way to get recognition out there. We made a whole lot of noise.”


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